I started my blog recounting the tale of my first teetering steps into the fabulous world of photographic competitions (see Notes From the Disillusioned).

I had begun to learn more about my camera by trial and error. After taking the picture I would look at the results but not have a clue as to what I had done wrong, so it was a huge learning curve working out how to rectify my mistakes. Even today, 10 years on, I still make those mistakes but I immediately know what I did wrong and can sort the error out more quickly.

So for the first few months my images (and therefore the pictures I sent off to competitions) were straight shots and I was quite happy with that. Then a good friend (Malcom from WPS – who sadly passed away a few weeks ago) introduced me to something that would change my photographic life …….. PHOTOSHOP. I had no idea how to use it, so again it was a long slow slog trying to find my way round that piece of software………. and I am so glad that I did persevere.

Now I was able to start pushing and blurring the boundaries where photography and conventional painting overlapped. I wanted to produce images that, on first sight, looked like a painting. I wanted to produce something “a bit different”. So I continued to digitally doodle until I had the desired effect. I found that I could do more with pixels than I could with a paint brush and canvas – I was so excited. Sometimes I would work on a picture for hours and hours and almost reach the end and then the computer would crash and I would lose everything and have to start over again…… I learned a lot from that…. save, save, save (and eventually get a MAC). But I was getting close to achieving my goal of blurring those boundaries and I was loving the process.

I didn’t have anyone to ask, people closely guarded their “secrets’. Their thoughts were “why should I share my knowledge with anyone else, I had to learn how to do it” AND (more importantly – to them) “If I share my “secrets” they might beat me in a competition” . Unfortunately I listened, in innocence, to someone who gave me some advice, which got me into some very hot water, but again I learned a lesson, and it was a VERY hard lesson to learn.

I made my first textures by scribbling on paper with various colours of pastel chalks and then overlaid a picture of 2 mackerel to make, what I considered to be a painterly picture. I entered it into a few competitions and it did well and eventually was chosen to go into the LCPU Annual Exhibition in Liverpool – unfortunately in the exhibition it was hung upside down……. oh well you can’t win ‘em all ! But this was my first textured painterly image and I was hooked.

I knew where I wanted to go with my photography and it was definitely in the painterly direction – there were going to be lots of bumps in the road……. but that’s another story.


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